The SZD Junior

SZD Junior HEK

The SZD-51-1 Junior is a single-seat club sailplane with safe and docile handling qualities. It was specifically designed for early solo pilots and first cross country flights.

The Junior was intended from the outset to be a club glider, not a fixed gear version of a competition sailplane. It features a large and comfortable cockpit, a fixed undercarriage with an oversized tire to soften landing, and an unusually strong airframe designed to endure the extra demands of club operation.

Cambridge Gliding Club owns two Juniors, HEK and HDU, which are used as our basic solo glider. After going solo and completing 5 solo flights in one of our two seat gliders, new solo pilots convert to the Junior. From then on they can fly the Junior whenever the weather is suitable for their individual experience. Many stay with the Junior through Bronze and up to Silver C standard. It is pleasant to fly, though it lacks penetration. Nevertheless it is not unusual for Juniors to fly 300 Km tasks in their native Poland.

Specifications Performance
Wingspan: 15 m Maximum L/D: 35:1 @ 43 kts
Length: 6.69 m Minimum sink: 0.55 m/s @ 38 kts
Height: 1.57 m
Wing area: 12.51 m^2
Aspect ratio: 18:1
Empty weight: 240 kg
Payload: 140 kg
Gross weight: 380 kg
Wing loading: 30.38 kg/m^2


The Junior is perhaps the least known of all the ‘club’ gliders, but it has many excellent features and has much the same best gliding angle as the ASK-23 and Grob 102, although this is at a lower flying speed.

The most striking and advantageous feature is the huge main wheel fitted with a disk brake. It reduces landing shocks and prevents damage when landing in rough fields. With a claimed glide ratio of 35:1 at 43 kts, the Junior is slower than other machines and this makes it particularly suited to thermalling in small, weak thermals. The lower speed is also an advantage for winch launching on a small site and ensures a really high launch.

This machine is much closer than many other gliders to my own idea of a good club aircraft. In my opinion the lower circling speeds are a great advantage to the inexperienced pilot, and the chance of damage is always greatly reduced by lower landing speeds. This is why the K-8 and the K-18 were so successful and popular in the clubs.

- Derek Piggott